Bayonne moving forward with $27.9M plan to fill $15M budget hole

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The Bayonne City Council opted to move forward with a $27.9 million deal with an out-of-state securities firm at a special meeting last night, hoping to fill a void that was left in their proposed $135 million budget in April.

After an over hour-long closed session that had those in attendance getting restless, Bayonne Financial Advisor Michael Hanley explained that the administration is taking a current $45 million agreement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that runs through 2033 and selling $27.9 million worth of those assets to Chicago-based securities firm William Blair & Company.

Although around 20 people waited out the closed session, only outspoken Mayor Jimmy Davis critic Peter Franco addressed the board on the matter.

Council President Sharon Nadrowski added that if the deal goes through as planned, additional revenues will be stored in the city’s budget surplus account.

She later added that this deal was made in the best long-term interests of the taxpayer, which is why the 17 years of assets were not sold off – only Years Nine through 17.

“We could sell all the remaining 17 years and we choose not to, we’re only selling what we need. We didn’t want to sell exactly what we need just to plus this year’s [budget] and then have to do this again next year or have to rush and make bad decisions on the property that’s left on the base [Military Ocean Terminal],” Nadrowski said.

“We gave ourselves a little cushion so we have something in surplus, so we don’t have the issue going for the next two years.”

The council unanimously approved (5-0) the agenda’s only item to draw up a letter of intent outlining the terms of the offer being made to William Blair & Company.

The new deal was necessary after Kate Howard LTD backed out of an agreement with the city to develop Harbor Station South in April, leaving a $15 million hole in the budget.

The city announced Kate Howard LTD as the developer back in September. Last month, city officials including Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti (D-31, whose law firm served as counsel to the defunct project), told Hudson County View that they hope to bring a ferry terminal to the former MOT.